With the recent success of Ghanaian/British tastemaker Edward Enniful becoming Vogue’s new Editor-in-Chief and model Maria Borges becoming the first African woman to grace the cover of Elle USA, the ongoing question regarding diversity within the industry rises once again.
Enniful has been vocal about the need to make change from the inside in this largely ‘white’ industry.
“If you put one model in a show or in an ad campaign, that doesn’t solve the problem…”
As brands are becoming aware of the condemnation regarding the limited representation in casting, a new generation of casting directors are attempting to change that, holding priority over genuine diversity rather than tokenism.
The casting directors behind climbing agencies such as Midland and Nii Agency turn to street casting when there aren’t enough diverse signed models available.
In the recent month of women’s ready-to-wear shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, there has been a significant increase in racial diversity, with 27.9 percent of ethnic models walking in the 241 shows.
One fashion house taking a stance on the matter is Gucci. Their latest Pre-Fall 2017 campaign, created by creative director Alessandro Michele, is an incredible display of style and black culture.
The project, named Soul Scene, takes inspiration from the ’60s influences such as England’s Northern Soul movement, which rose from black American soul music.
One of the models featuring in this campaign is Akua Shabaka. She established that she was surprised when she realised she was in an all black cast of models;
“When I found out it was for Gucci, I automatically thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to be the only black girl there…’”
Since Gucci’s posting of the newest campaign on social media, fans have been congratulating the brand for their inclusiveness.
Is this finally the beginning of a turnaround the fashion industry needs?
Text: Afua Aidoo
Images: Instagram, Imaxtree, Gucci